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The News in Brief

Tuesday, September 12
Regulating Inadmissible Internet Content – Georgia in Need of Legal Changes

Parallel to the unprecedented growth of the Internet’s importance in contemporary democratic societies, it is all the more pressing to determine the rules of engagement in this medium. The goal of such regulations is, on the one hand, not to restrict or hamper the use of the Internet and, on the other hand, to protect the interests that in certain cases contradicts freedom of expression.

According to Freedom House’s Internet Freedom Index, Georgia is considered a free country since 2012, where online censorship is rare and online content is not subject to systemic manipulations. Despite this, temporary blocking of Youtube and Wordpress demonstrates how fragile such achievements can be. With these cases, the lack of accountability mechanisms of law enforcement agencies in such circumstances was revealed. The media and the society have not received answers about the means and grounds for restricting access to international platforms to this day.

At the same time, the Georgian National Communications Commission’s (GNCC) adopted the Regulation on the Rules of Provision of Services and Protection of Consumer Rights in the area of Electronic Communications (regulation), which defines the concept of “inadmissible content”. Importantly, the Regulation covers protection of consumer rights specifically and cannot be invoked in cases of crimes falling under the Criminal Code of Georgia. GNCC’s Regulation foresees several grounds for restriction of freedom of expression; therefore, in case of abuse and ungrounded use of such rules, the standard of protecting freedom of expression may face severe threats.

The purpose of this study is to elaborate on the concept of “inadmissible content” and ascertain to what extent the grounds for such principle meet the standards set forth in the Constitution and those acknowledged internationally.

The study showed that the components of the concept of inadmissible content defined by the Regulation of the Georgian National Communications Commission do not meet the local and international standards of restricting freedom of expression. Therefore, this problem must be solved through legislative amendments, in order to prevent excessive restriction of the freedom of expression.

Tbilisi to host UEFA Under-19 Women’s Championship qualifiers

The Georgian capital of Tbilisi will host matches of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final tournament starting next week.

The Mikheil Meskhi 2 stadium and David Petriashvili Arena in the city will be the venues for the games between Georgia, Greece, Poland and Russia.

Here is the detailed schedule of the matches:
• September 12

Georgia-Russia – 5pm at Mikheil Meskhi 2 stadium

Greece-Poland – 7pm at David Petriashvili Arena
• September 15

Poland-Georgia – 5pm at Mikheil Meskhi 2 stadium

Russia-Greece - 7pm at David Petriashvili Arena
• September 18

Georgia-Greece – 5pm at Mikheil Meskhi 2 stadium

Poland-Russia – 5pm at David Petriashvili Arena.

In August 2017, Tbilisi also hosted six matches of the qualifying UEFA Women's Champions League.